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Aussie characters; #2 The maverick pollie

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Oh….seems like I took the liberty of throwing in a couple of minor incidentals that will probably prove to be mildly irritating.

I rarely choose to write about politics because I have a cynical and  obtuse view of our “Party System” which to my mind strangles the ultimate potential of Democracy.
I am of course able to adopt this luxurious point of view precisely because Australia does permit this democratic freedom.

Parliament is no longer a venue for free and equal expression by all our elected representatives. More commonly it simply rubber stamps policies concocted by unelected power brokers, and gags contributions and debate by those members not in the ruling tribe.

As there are few major policy differences between the two contending Parties in Australia these days I have a personal voting policy of trying to kick out whichever ruling Party is in office following the completion of two terms.

I figure that after that amount of time, the majority of politicians who are in power in Canberra will probably have their comfy slippers on, sipping perk-cocktails after a solid session dining out at the Parliamentary Restaurant of Taxpayer Plenty.

Far away in mind and body from the voters who put them there.

I reason that they all need at least 3 years back in the political wilderness so they can become re-acquainted with the real world.

The exception to my policy is this man who represents my huge electorate of Kennedy. An area of half a million square kilometres, or two and a half times the size of the State of Victoria.

Mind you, if he ever tries to rest on his laurels I’ll turf vote him out on his arse too.

Katter is a one of rare breed……an Independent who had the political courage and conviction to separate himself from a non-performing Party which was paying only lip service to his rural people.

He is often scathingly referred to by Australia’s urban-obsessed media as  “the maverick politician”.

My first introduction to his unique politicianship occurred when I was parked outside Inga’s Primary School twenty years ago .
A large friendly hand materialised through the open window of my truck, followed by an Akubra bushman’s hat and a genuinely smiling face which introduced and inquired;

“Katter……just checking how your life is going, and if there’s anything I might be able to do to help you.”

He was not in a pre-poll electioneering mode at the time.
This is just the way he operates to take the pulse of his electorate.

Katter occasionally puts out bait to attract the attention of the popular press which gobbles it all up, and then takes delight in implying that he is a dumb country yokel…… often conveniently overlooking the position of his tongue in cheek.

He once provided a media feeding frenzy by suggesting that a Rio style statue of Jesus Christ should be constructed on top of the mountain behind GOF’s Place to attract religious tourism.

Despite obscene amounts of cash being thrown up against him at election time by the major political parties we, his constituents, continue to re-elect him, because in an era when politicians promise the world during campaigning, then become hammered into puppet-like silent submission by the Party machinery after election, he stands tall.

Even though his tireless battles on behalf of Australia’s ailing rural sector might be old-fashioned, and ultimately futile and unsuccessful, we should celebrate a political system that has a place for larger-than-life Independent characters like Bob Katter.

I would like to think that “democracy” might have originally been conceived to operate with a Parliament comprised entirely of Independent  “Bob Katters”.

It probably then took somewhere around five minutes before the first opportunistic power hungry politician dreamed up the concept of a “Gang of Like-mindedness” to disrupt that noble objective.

Today, the reward of Government is bestowed upon those individuals who, to greater or lesser degrees, have traded principle for popularity.



Ed;   GOF rapidly decamped from the scene of this misdemeanor
and went into hiding somewhere down in the scrub.

You’ll probably find him disguised as a sitting duck
on a rock beside his pond of non-political tranquillity.
Go get ‘im.




About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

12 responses »

  1. LOL….about GOF going into hiding. We will be on the lookout for “sitting ducks!”

  2. I like our nutjob Kucinich, bless his heart.

    He’s not good-looking but he’s a true liberal. I actually respect him (I skew liberal on *most* issues). Can’t say that about anybody else, really…

  3. I like your personal voting policy. I also had a laugh because the label of maverick politician is **exactly what got Palin and Brown elected, America loves faux rebels apparently. Katters sounds like a the genuine deal.

    I have muttered for years now that any politician elected to serve should be required to work for minimum wage for 2 years straight before taking office. There’s a great book that I have yet to read called Nickled and Dimed that spreads this message as well.

    Senators Cantwell and Harkin are my heroes recently – I should blog about them. See? You’ve inspired me with your political post. It’s not all bad.

    • Your idea of having politicians work on minimum wages for a while is excellent Emmy……..with probably as much chance of becoming a reality as my idea of searching for something better than the “Party System”.

      Emjay warned me early in my blogging days about the ill-advisedness of writing about politics…….but I was overtaken on this occasion by the urge to express my honest opinion. That’s not something I will ever regret.

      I’ll happily read any contributions you wish to put forward about Senators Cantwell and Harkin.

  4. Yeah, I tend to stay away from politics and religion in writing.. We recently had our mayoral and ward member elections – for months at least twice a week campaigners knocked on our door introducing their candidate etc and asking if we wanted one of their signs on our front lawn. Not wanting to upset any sectors of our community we declined all kind offers for such signs. One night I’d had enough and said “you know, people for Fenty have knocked on my door every week – can’t you just note that the manservant will vote for him and not visit us anymore?” He replied: “Well, if you get a sign we won’t knock anymore” ……

    • I should perhaps have paid more attention to the early warning you gave me about dealing with politics and religion on a blog Emjay.

      At least on this occasion I have not taken sides. Equality for all this time. 🙂

      Your experience with political sign-pushers would drive me nuts. Why don’t you get a sign made up;
      “Vote for Emjay” and shove that into your lawn every time an election is looming…..then they might not bother you……….you might also inadvertently acquire a cult following if the media pick up on your sign.

  5. Didn’t Snowy write about Katter not too long ago? Back when he wanted to build the giant Jesus on the mountain?

    I dunno about this, GOF. That and the bushman’s hat would make me duck a handshake from this guy.

    • Snowy, like many Australians is probably not hugely impressed by Mr Katter.

      After the recent “hung Parliament” elections Katter plus 2 other Independents were being royally courted by the two major parties. Katter took that opportunity to get everything he could for the normally-ignored constituents of his bush electorate. That is why we like the man.

  6. Bob has worried me on occasion especially when he wanders into the same sex opposition but the one area where he gets me interested is when he answers questions he hasn’t thought of before. He answers honestly and even he doesn’t know where it’s going.

    Of course this leads to some major headlines but he isn’t worried about being sneaky. He just goes for it. I’m sure he regards the Press the same way as Sir Joh. Just feeding the chooks.

    As you probably know we Vics are in an Election campaign and I note the current Opposition Leader is saying Labor has been in office too long. I would prefer to label that as the “It’s my turn” approach. It doesn’t get my vote and gives the impression that their time in Opposition was just an expected “sin bin”. I would prefer he had some new suggestions rather than the Ground Hog Day of Law and Order and Public transport.

    I tell you they could possibly be running the same campaign they ran unsuccessfully the last 3 elections but not too many are listening. Wouldn’t be surprised if half the Vics think Jeff Kennet is still Leader.

    • Thanks Pete…..I fortunately live a sufficiently long way away from Victoria to find out much about your politics………one State at a time is enough for me. 🙂 Thanks for your assessment.


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